21 Upper Body CrossFit Workouts for Muscle and Strength

(Last Updated On: August 25, 2022)

Do you like CrossFit but hate leg day?

If so, you have come to the right place.

Today we are going to give you a crap ton of CrossFit workouts that target the upper body and help you get jacked.

Let’s get this party started.

upper body crossfit workouts

Upper Body CrossFit Workouts

Try these CrossFit workouts that target mainly the upper body and get swole.


#1 Volkswagon

21-15-9 Reps, For time

  • Bench Presses (bodyweight)
  • Pull-Ups

This is a classic benchmark upper body workout that was originated by CrossFit Football which doesn’t exist anymore,

I couldn’t figure out why it is called Volkswagon, I guess the reason it is named that will remain a mystery.


Related: 23 CrossFit Leg Workouts For Muscle and Strength

Related: The 20 Most Brutal and Difficult CrossFit Workouts on the Planet

Related 15 CrossFit Deadlift Workouts That Aren’t For Wimps


#2 EMOM Pump Challenge

EMOM for 10 minutes

  • Odd Minutes: 20 Strict Handstand Push-Ups
  • Even Minutes: 15 Strict Pull-Ups

This workout is pretty self-explanatory and will fry your shoulders, back and arms.

pull up

#3 Elizabeth

21-15-9 Reps For Time

  • Cleans (135/95 lb)
  • Ring Dips

We have reached one of the girls, Elizabeth is another classic that blasts your chest, back, and the rest of your upper body.

You can use either power cleans, or squat cleans for this workout, whatever you prefer.


#4 171810

For time:

  • 60 push-ups
  • 50 dips
  • 40 handstand push-ups
  • 30 bench presses, 155 lb.
  • 20 jerks, 155 lb.
  • 10 push presses, 155 lb.

This WOD will blast your entire upper body, particularly your chest.


#5 Pump it Up

For time:

  • 3 Rounds:
  • 5 Strict Handstand Push-ups
  • 5 Strict Pull-Ups
  • 10 Dumbbell Strict Presses
  • 10 Dumbbell Bent Over Rows (each arm)
  • 100 Calorie Schwinn Bike
  • 3 Rounds:
  • 5 Strict Handstand Push-ups
  • 5 Strict Pull-Ups
  • 10 Dumbbell Strict Presses
  • 10 Dumbbell Bent Over Rows (each arm)

If you like a workout that has a lot of variety, this is a good one for you.


#6 080519

For time:

  • 75 Push-ups
  • 95-pound Sumo-deadlift high-pull, 50 reps
  • 50 Ring Dips
  • 45-pound Weighted Pull-ups, 30 reps
  • 25 Handstand Push-ups

This WOD is definitely not for beginners.


#7 Dream Crusher V2

For Time

  • 6 Bar Muscle-Ups
  • 9 Thrusters (135/95 lb)
  • 12 Snatches (135/95 lb)
  • 18 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups
  • 36 Handstand Push-Ups
  • 18 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups
  • 12 Snatches (135/95 lb)
  • 9 Thrusters (135/95 lb)
  • 6 Bar Muscle-Ups

Time Cap is 12 minutes for this bad boy.

Increase the time cap to 16 minutes or scale back as needed.

CrossFit Masters athlete John Kim designed this workout as a tougher version of the original and it is loaded with upper body exercises. If your shoulders aren’t totally fried by the end of this workout, then you are a better man (or woman) than me.


#8 Joseph Spor

10 Rounds for Time

  • 1 Strict Press (135/95 lb)
  • 2 Push Presses (135/95 lb)
  • 3 Push Jerks (135/95 lb)
  • 4 Handstand Push-Ups
  • 10 Push-Ups

This upper body CrossFit workout is a Hero WOD. The WOD is done a Fighrfighter Hero WOD that is done to honor Joseph Spor, FDNY, Rescue 3, who was killed on September 11, 2001. He was in the first tower when it went down.

#9 Armblaster 2000

AMRAP in 8 minutes

  • 12 Ring Dips
  • 10 Strict Presses (45/35 lb bar)
  • 8 Thrusters (45/35 lb bar)
  • 6 Push-Ups
  • 4 Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift High-Pulls (50/45 lbs)

This upper body workout really hammers the triceps and shoulders and does it quickly.


#10 Holleyman

30 Rounds For Time

  • 5 Wall Ball Shots (20/14 lb)
  • 3 Handstand Push-Ups
  • 1 Power Clean (225/155 lb)

This bad boy has high volume and is moderately heavy. Use your legs as much as possible during the wall balls to save your shoulders for the handstand push-ups.

This Hero WOD is done to honor U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Aaron N. Holleyman, 27, of Glasgow, MS, who was killed on August 30, 2004, when his Military vehicle hit an IED in Khutayiah, Iraq.


#11 JT

21-15-9 Reps For Time

  • Handstand Push-Ups
  • Ring Dips
  • Push-Ups

This Hero WOD will crush your chest and shoulders. Scale back as needed.

This Hero WOD is done in honor of Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Taylor, of Little Creek, Virginia, who was killed in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005.


#12 Popeye

3 Rounds Without Breaking

  • 30 Dumbell Curls (2×25/15 lb)
  • 30 Strict Presses (2×25/15 lb)
  • 30 Lateral Raises (2×25/15 lb)
  • 30 Hammer Curls (2×25/15 lb)
  • 30 Upright Rows (2×25/15 lb)
  • 30 Push Presses (2×25/15 lb)
  • 30 Curls (2×25/15 lb)
  • 1-minute Rest

If you are looking for a CrossFit WOD to give you “Big Guns, ” the appropriately named “Popeye” should do the trick.


#13 Fran

21–15 -9  Reps

  • Thruster (95/65lbs)
  • Pull-Ups

This is probably the most well-known CrossFit workout on the planet. It’s simple yet brutal.

What’s a good score for Fran?

Beginner: 8 minutes

Intermediate: 6 minutes

Advanced: 4-6 minutes

Elite:: Under 3 minutes

Good luck!

thruster exercise

#14 Jackie

For Time

  • 1,000 meter Row
  • 50 Thrusters (45/35 lb bar)
  • 30 Pull-Ups

This classic WOD will fry your shoulders and back.

Row at about 80% of your max pace and then try to go unbroken with the thrusters and pull-ups for a good time. If you need to break up the thrusters and pull-ups, break them into big chunks.


#15 Nate

20 Minute AMRAP

  • 2 Muscle-ups
  • 4 Handstand push-ups
  • 8 Kettlebell swings (2/1.5 pood)

If you are looking for a WOD that will blast chest and shoulders then you have come to the right place. After 20 minutes straight of muscle-ups, handstand push-ups and heavy kettlebell swings you will be on the floor. Trust us; it’s harder than it looks.

This Hero WOD is done to honor of Chief Petty Officer Nate Hardy, he was killed on February 4, 2008, during combat in Iraq.


#16 Christina

20 minute AMRAP

  • 9 Pull-Ups
  • 9 Squat Cleans (95/65 lb)
  • 9 Kettlebell Swings (1.5/1 pood)
  • 9 Toes-to-Bar
  • 9 Push Presses (95/65 lb)
  • 9 Burpees

Christina is an AMRAP workout and it is another one of “the girls”. This one does involve some squats. Sorry to all of those who prefer to have stick legs.


#17 Zimmerman

25 minute AMRAP

  • 11 Chest-to-bar pull-ups
  • 2 Deadlifts (315/205 pounds)
  • 10 Handstand push-ups

This bad boy isn’t for wimps. It features heavy deadlifts that some will have to scale. If you aren’t a lump of jelly by the end of this workout you are a true badass with serious upper body strength.

This WOD is done in honor of U.S. Marine Corps First Lieutenant James R. Zimmerman, 25, who died on November 2, 2010, while in combat in Helmand province of Afghanistan.

handstand push up

 #18 Chesty

  • 10-8-6-4-2
  • bench press
  • *do 15 burpees after each set

Choose a challenging weight that will allow you to move consistently without breaks.

Obviously, this workout will blast your chest.


#19 Diane

21-15-9 Reps For Time

  • Deadlifts (225/155 lb)
  • Handstand Push-Ups

This classic CrossFit WOD should feel moderately fast and reasonably heavy. It is common for this workout to take 20 minutes. If it takes you that long you should scale it back, though. Scale back to 155/105 lb and do regular push-ups instead of the handstands.


#20 Blackjack

  • For Time
  • 20 Push-Ups, 1 Sit-Up
  • 19 Push-Ups, 2 Sit-Ups
  • 18 Push-Ups, 3 Sit-Ups
  • 17 Push-Ups, 4 Sit-Ups
  • …continue this pattern until…
  • 1 Push-Ups, 20 Sit-Ups

This workout is more challenging than it looks, you might want to break up the push-ups unless you are some kind of push-up god. You will also want to go with a moderate speed on the sit-ups.


#21 Look, One Hand WOD

Complete 5 rounds

  • Left Arm Dumbbell Push Press, 6 Reps
  • Right Arm Dumbbell Push Press, 6 Reps
  • Left Arm Dumbbell Row, 8 Reps
  • Right Arm Dumbbell Row, 8 Reps
  • Left Arm Dumbbell Curl, 10 Reps
  • Right Arm Dumbbell Curl, 10 Reps

Complete 5 sets of 36 reps without putting down the dumbbell. Each time you set the dumbbell down, you must do 5 burpees. Go as heavy as you can..

Rounding out our list of upper body WODs, we have one that will hammer your shoulders, back and biceps.


How Often to Do CrossFit Upper Body Workouts?

These workouts are meant to be done 2-3 times per week. If you are new to CrossFit, start with 2 days per week and work your way up to 3. Remember to listen to your body and take rest days when needed. You should also focus on other aspects of fitness, such as lower body workouts, cardiovascular exercise, and mobility work.

Also, please don’t skip leg day. If you want a balanced and athletic physique, you will need to be hitting your legs a couple of times a week.


If you’re looking for a challenging and varied upper body workout, give CrossFit a try. These 21 exercises will work your muscles differently and keep you motivated to return for more. Have you tried Crossfit before? What’s your favorite workout?

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